A recent Barco report analysing changing workplace culture since the onset of Covid found that hybrid working – a blend of remote and office work – is the new preferred way of working. Even as restrictions lift and employees enjoy returning to the cameraderie of the office in greater numbers, there is still a desire for remote work. However, despite this trend people are struggling with virtual and hybrid meetings.
The Barco meeting barometer, published every quarter – which measures how people experience meetings – has plummeted since 2019, from +63 on the index to -25 in 2020. The main issue behind the drop is low participant engagement. One contributing factor was that remote collaboration did not come naturally to 49 per cent of those polled.
That said, 80 per cent of respondents believed easy-to-use tech could make not just virtual meetings better but also in-person ones.
Employees expect more from meeting rooms
These figures show a clear need for improved tech in order to foster greater participant engagement, while at the same time supporting hybrid working methods.
As far as the technical barriers to hybrid meetings are concerned, meeting rooms are not adequately equipped for hybrid work. Sixty-five per cent of employees struggle with different setups in meeting rooms, especially when moving from one meeting room to the next.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent of respondents reported having trouble connecting to the AV peripherals such as display, camera, speakers and microphones, often not knowing which cable is the right one. A whopping 78 per cent said they wished they could just walk into an in-person meeting room and join a call without having to connect to cables (78 per cent). In short, employees want to be able to brainstorm and collaborate without the interruptions caused by technical issues. The predominant feeling among those returning to the office is that if they are going to physically make the commute, they want much more from a meeting and meeting room than they did previously – otherwise they’d just work from home, connecting via Zoom or Teams. But even in the virtual realm, the sheer number of online meetings everyone attended over the past year and a half has not just given the work world Zoom/Teams fatigue, it has also led to higher standards for tech, from gear such as cameras, microphones and speakers, to screen sharing.
New methods of working
Naturally, bring your own meeting (BYOM) and bring your own device (BYOD) have become de rigueur, especially as laptops have become the interface to the world since lockdown. Video conferencing is not just the new normal, it’s the new expectation that meeting rooms be equipped with the best this technology has to offer in terms of audio and video. Added to this is the new focus on employee-centricity. Employers are well aware that employees have had a lot more time during lockdown to think about what they want out of life and, by extension, their jobs. They need strong incentives to come back to the office, beyond just the social interaction aspect.
Employers need to prioritise and invest in tech
This means offering flexible options that meet employee needs from a compatibility standpoint and collaborative tools that boost meeting productivity through enhanced interaction. The result is a meeting experience that is inspiring, immersive and has a better all-around flow. It’s also no longer afford to have to spend time trying to sync systems or get on the same page technologically speaking. To thrive in today’s climate, employers need to foster a dynamic meeting environment through technology that is user-friendly and which requires no training or setup management so that workers can connect with each other instead of wasting time wrestling with meeting set-up parameters.
Connect to the future with ClickShare
Barco’s ClickShare offers a possible solution. Agnostic, wireless and fully integrated, the ClickShare hub makes hybrid meetings as intuitive and straightforward as face-to-face ones. With ClickShare Conference, meeting participants can host video calls from their laptop and go beyond what is possible with a traditional UCC platform such as Zoom, MS Teams or WebEx alone. With ClickShare Present, users can even enhance collaboration and interactivity in fixed conference rooms by bringing their own device.
Whatever they prefer, ClickShare gives the power back to employees. People can enter the conference room, turn on their laptop, plug in the ClickShare button or use the desktop app, and join the conversation. Whether they bring their own device or go fully agnostic by choosing their own UCC, ClickShare meetings can always start on time and without IT-related delay. Meeting hosts also feel more comfortable and confident, as they are running the meeting from their laptop or mobile device.
Discover more from our 2021 Hybrid meeting research whitepaper.